Saturday, October 31, 2009

imdb, here I come!

My theatre company, Vertigo Theatre Company, was recently hired to appear in an independent film. An art professor at the local university has taken a sabbatical in order to produce a film project near and dear to his heart. He was in search of some actors, and was directed to us.

The movie is about a man with some OCD/control issues who meets a woman with much more profound problems. This relationship serves to help him gain a new perspective on his own life and also improves his relationship with his family. It's a short, very interesting project which should be visually striking and thought-provoking.

It's also interesting in how different film is from stage, and how our different acting styles are fitting in. On stage, you start at the beginning of the character's journey, or arc, and continue inexorably toward the conclusion. You grow as the character grows with each performance, taking a trip with them that is very organic and "in the moment." Film is very different. In film, you take little slices of that arc, and do them over and over again from different angles. If the scene you are filming is at an emotional high, then you slice that emotional high right out of the tube of story, like taking one cookie out of the center of a tube of cookie dough. And then you do it repeatedly until the director feels he has his shot. Often, the pieces are not even filmed sequentially, so you might be playing the end before the beginning.

Safe to say that this, from an acting standpoint, is kind of weird. We "classically trained" actors are used to getting into character and staying there. To keep jumping in at random points can be difficult. This is truer for some than others, of course.

There are many different acting styles/schools that have enjoyed popularity. Classical, method, sense-memory, all are valid ways to approach a role. I have found that it's best to pick and choose, cafeteria-style, according to what the role, or even different moments within the role, require. If I need to cry, I'll try to be more method, getting deep into the character and/or going to a personal place that matches the emotion of that scene. In Shakespeare, I tend to be more technical, scanning the script for clues and using the language itself to propel the character along.

As a general rule, though, I tend to be a more cerebral, technical actor. One of my partners in the company, however, is considerable more method/organic. She really gets into a part, often so much that the role spills a bit into her life. For film, then, we have discovered that I have an advantage. It is much easier for me to turn the technical on and off, jumping back into the same spot over and over. Often, my inflections and movements will be exactly the same each time. While a challenge to keep fresh, this does lend itself well to film, because repeating yourself helps the director to identify cut-points. My partner, being a more organic actor, finds it difficult to play the same scene the same way twice, because she is too far inside the part to step outside of it and monitor what she's doing.

Is either method better? No. Just different ways of approaching the same thing. She's much better at getting to emotions onstage than I am, because I'm thinking too much about what I'm doing while I'm doing it. For film, this is just what is needed. I find it fascinating, and ultimately good for both of us, that we have such different ways of approaching acting. We have been able to build a trust with each other in scenes that is so important, because we have a knowledge of what the other person needs.

Alongside all this actor-talk, how cool is it that I'm in a movie!? I'll post more details as they become available. Who knows? Maybe Paris Hilton will be skanking it up at Sundance after getting kicked out of a movie that I'm in!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Better Use of Glenn Beck's Time

There are a whole lot of angry people in this country. Not as many as they would have you believe, but they are loud and ignorant, so we notice them more. I say we redirect their ire away from the issues they have been duped into fighting for and onto one much more pressing and deserving of this level of anger.

Froot Loops.

THEY CHANGED FROOT LOOPS! A favorite since my youth, I could always count on Froot Loops to taste and smell exactly the same. A wonderful, fruit-like goodness poured from the box, filling my heart with a kind of love that few have known.

And they've changed them.

In an effort to be "healthy," Kellogg's has added fiber. Fiber helps you poop, and pooping is good. However, they've also removed the little sugar granules that used to stick lovingly to the outside of each Loop, and they've screwed up the texture and taste of the cereal.

I'm experience a possibly inappropriate amount of rage over this, but WTF!? If you want fiber, buy Kashi. Don't mess with my Froot Loops.

And yes, I WILL be writing the company. You should, too. Not everything has to be good for you. Some things just have to be good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Glenn Beck's Folly

Anyone familiar with Fox News should know who Glenn Beck is. He used to be on CNN, but fits in much better in his current environment. He's started this thing called The 912 Project. His goal is to return us to the America we became on 9/12, the day after the terrorist attacks. I'd prefer to go to 9/10, but regardless. If you want to know what it's all about, go to

As part of their "mission statement," they outline certain principles and values that they hold dear. The values are meaningless happy-words that no one could really argue with. "Honesty." Yeah, ok, I can get behind that, but what does if really mean? Nothing. So let's look at the 9 Principles and see if they have any merit.

1. America Is Good.

Well, maybe. I don't really think a country can be inherently good or bad. The people running it certainly can. I think for the last 8 years we were certainly not "good." We've been taken over by corporate interests that infect every aspect of government. I do, however, think that we can be good again!

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

I don't. If you have to go with all nine, I guess this would be the deal-breaker for me. I know that the last President did, and used that faith to make major decisions in lieu of, say, research. This is VERY dangerous.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Can't argue with that. Then again, if you're completely honest on Monday, there's not much room for improvement. Also, coming from someone on Fox News, this is hilarious.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

Well, it depends. If you and your spouse are Christian Scientists who deny insulin to their daughter so that she dies? Yeah, the State should step in at that point.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

I agree.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

No guarantee of equal results, but there should certainly be equal opportunity. My ability to pursue happiness should not be hampered by others deciding I don't deserve to be happy by reason of my race, sexual preference, or economic standing. My ability to make a living shouldn't be hampered by some executive deciding he needs to lay some workers off so his wife can continue getting weekly spa treatments.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Slippery slope, this. This is the kind of Libertarian attitude that leads to CEO's getting huge bonuses while kids starve in this country. This is what leads to poverty. Sure, people should work for what they get. But some can't. Let's not leave them to die.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

I agree. Too bad the Bush administration didn't see it this way. Oh, and the talking heads on TV that accused the people questioning Bush's policies of being unpatriotic? Evil. One of the people that did this kind of thing? Glenn Beck.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Well, that would be true in a Democracy. But we live in a Republic. We elect officials to make decisions for us. Then, if we don't like how they do, we vote them out. Like in November.

So, no, I can't support your project, Glenn. No matter how much you cry about it on your show.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A parable from our mystery guest blogger...

In America, they first invaded Iraq, and I didn’t speak up because I believed Iraq had WMD’s;

And then they tortured Iraqi prisoners, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an Iraqi prisoner, plus it was kind of funny and they deserved it;

And then they suspended habeas corpus and started wiretapping Americans, and I didn’t speak up because I have nothing to hide and prefer security over liberty;

And then . . . they proposed a 4% tax hike only for the rich . . . And that so pissed me off that I took to the streets in protest.

God, I’m stupid.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

They want their tea, but keep the change

Caution: some profanity. Deal with it.

As I was driving to rehearsal last night, I noticed a large group of placard-bearing people gathered outside the post office. When I reached the corner, I saw that we were having our very own tea party. One of the signs said "Impeach Obama." I figured that it was finally time to weigh in on this subject. I shall use as much tact and respect as my fellow citizens deserve.

These people are morons. They, and the fine folks at Fox News (where they likely get all of their "information"), would have us believe that this is a grass roots movement to fight the spectre of higher taxes and out-of control spending. Where were these people during the last 8 years? During the creation of a huge deficit? When we were spending all that money on the war? Oh, it involved guns? I guess that's ok, then.

This is not a grass roots movement. It's being funded and promoted by corporations that wish for everything to remain just as it is. God forbid the poor shouldn't stay poor, and corporate overlords shouldn't continue raping the country for their own selfish gain. They resist change, because change would take some of their golf club dues money away.

What these teabaggers have been fooled into thinking is that Obama wants to raise all our taxes. Even though only the most affluent will see any increase in taxes. Even though there has been NO indication that their taxes will go up, these mouth-breathers believe anything Limbaugh and Hannity tell them. They are protesting against something that DOESN'T EXIST!

Not only that, but they are, effectively, still campaigning. The election was won by those who desire change way back in November, but they're still campaigning, creating tea parties, producing commercials about "clean coal" and whatnot, continuing to -- and this is the scariest part -- perpetuate the divisiveness created by the previous administration! Instead of going with change and not being assholes, they are still fighting the fight, trying to undermine anything good that might happen in this country.

Just when we thought we could heal, the teabaggers are still picking the scab. Things will NEVER improve in this country unless there are some radical changes in how things are run. This can't happen if these idiots convince enough other idiots to stand in the way. These are not patriots. These are liars and thieves and the deluded Ditto-heads that listen to them. We voted the Republicans out in November. They should shut the fuck up.

And I don't really think they know what "teabagging" means.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Itty-bitty Watchmen review

I'm not going to go on and on here. Just wanted to weigh in on Watchmen, a movie many people have been clamoring for/fearful of since 1986. Clamoring because it's arguable the best comic series in history. Fearful because it's been considered nigh-unfilmable.

Well, all I'll say is that they made the best film they possibly could out of that book. Would it have been better, or more complete, as a 5-hour miniseries? Perhaps. But when adapting for film, you can't make a movie JUST for the fanboys and purists. Some concessions must be made for the good of the film and the good of future films that will be made of similar material. Precious few concessions were made, and I can live with all of them. It was remarkably true to the book, and a brilliant film. Fantastic experience, and highly recommended.

And please, PLEASE read the book. Nothing compares.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big Fat Idiot

So now Rush Limbaugh is challenging/inviting Obama to come on his show to debate the issues. Some of the recent controversy with Rush is that some Republicans are saying that the brouhaha over Rush is a Democrat conspiracy to characterize Republicans as "angry white men." Personally it seems Rush is doing that himself, but whatever. He is in the spotlight right now because of his tiff with the ACTUAL head of the Republican party, who of course caved and apologized to Rush for daring to question his methods.

This is just another example of Republicans trying to divert attention from actually getting some good work done in favor of keeping the status quo for the "rich angry white men" who have been in charge for so long. Creating controversy like this is par for the course for these chuckleheads. But here's the thing; and this is what people should try to keep in mind, rather than be sucked into this crap. THE PRESIDENT DOESN'T HAVE TIME TO DEBATE A RADIO HOST! He has actual work to do. The debating happened during the campaign, which Rush's side lost in a big way. That ship sailed, fat man. Shut the hell up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


There's this Twitter meme thing where people can "tag" you to write 7 things that people don't know about you. Technically, I wasn't tagged, but instead of spiraling into an abyss of "nobody cares about me," I decided to just write the damn thing anyway. Many of you who know me IRL will be painfully aware of some of these. Those who only know me as an avatar, however? This is for you.

1)I like a surprisingly wide array of music. I'm kinda proud of this, actually. My favorite band, since high school, has been Rush. The quality of the playing and writing is unparalleled, and I just really like what they do and what they stand for. All through high school, all my favorite bands were under the "progressive" label: Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, ELP, Genesis. Up until that time, I mainly listened to jazz, due to my being a trumpet player, and musicals. After college, I discovered industrial, which had a huge impact on me. At this point in my life, on any given day, I can be found listening to Assemblage 23, LOTR, Wicked, Josh Groban, Korn, Wumpscut, NOFX, My Chemical Romance,Barry Manilow, Alison Kraus, you name it. There are certain genres I really don't care for. Rap, Country, R&B, Opera, Gospel, and the most insipid Pop songs hold no appeal for me, though there are exceptions in all those areas. But I'm glad that I can find pleasure in many different areas of music. I guess you can say I like quality and talent.

2)I dwell. I dwell HARD. If something doesn't go my way, or I do something really stupid, I will NOT let it go. I'll keep thinking about it, and talking about it, until those around me want to punch me in the face. I was aware of this, but didn't really know how neurotic I was until it was pointed out a few months ago. I'm not sure why I can't let go of things, or why I insist on inflicting this on others. I'd really like to stop.

3)My mental picture of myself doesn't match reality. I'm overweight. Like, a lot. Not enough to end up on Springer, or airlifted from my house, but enough that I can't shop for clothes at the mall. I have to go to big and tall stores, because I am both. Like, 5 or 6 X's. This was not always the case, however. I was a stick growing up, until about 8th grade, when I stopped moving but kept eating. Still relatively thin, though, through my Junior year of college. Didn't really blow up until after our kids were born. When I think of myself, though, I don't see myself as quite as big as I actually am. I'm always surprised when I see myself on film or in a shop window reflection. Every damn time. This is probably why I can never seem to stay on a diet for long. (Except this time, by jingo!)

4)I stole stuff when I was little. We're talking first grade and before. One or two little things from stores, one thing from school. It wasn't all the time or anything, but I knew enough to lie about it when I was accused, so I knew it was wrong. My mom defended me to a store manager once. I confessed what had really happened...on my 30th birthday.

5)I think the movie Gone With the Wind is a piece of shit.

6)I often think of what it would be like to go back to high school knowing what I know now. Don't get me wrong. I love my wife and kids, and couldn't imagine living without them. But I sure wish I could make a few different choices back then, and will fantasize about what might have been different or improved.

7)I've never been to Florida, and I don't care if I ever get there.

So that's my seven. I hope at least some of this was mildly interesting. Because number 8 would be about my need for approval.